Homebuilders – Legal ages

Often as parents and caregivers we are confused about our rights and the rights of our children.We know that children have more rights now than back in the day when ‘children were seen and not heard’. As a parent or caregiver, we only want the best for our children, guiding and supporting them to become well adjusted adults.

Children and teenagers have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips, with social media and Google, so most know their rights, but what is correct when we look at what the legal ages are for our children/teenager? For example, when can they begin school and when can they leave?The following information is from the website of Youth Law NZ.

A child can be enrolled into school at the age of 5 but legally has to start attending school at the age of 6.

When a child is under the age of 7, the driver of the car that the child is travelling in, must be properly restrained in an approved child restraint that’s appropriate for your age and size – this has to be some kind of car seat or booster.

Once a child turns 10, they can be held criminally responsible if they kill someone.At the age of 12, parents have to get the child’s agreement before they can make an extended care agreement for them to go into foster care for more than 28 days.

When a child turns 14, they officially become a ‘young person’. This means they can be held criminally liable for breaking the law and will generally be dealt with under the youth justice system. At this age, parents can legally leave the ‘young person’ at home without supervision.

At 16, they can leave home and qualify as either an adult worker or a starting-out worker, so they are entitled to the minimum wage. At 16, they can legally consent to sex, get married or enter a civil union, if parents agree. Sixteen-year-olds can legally leave home.

At this age, you can also apply for a Learners Drivers Licence.At 17, you are no longer treated as a ‘young person’ and will not be under Youth Justice anymore.

After you turn 18, parents and caregivers no longer have any rights or responsibilities that come from being your guardian. Once they are 18, they can get married or enter a civil union without permission, can buy alcohol and cigarettes, might be eligible for a variety of Government benefits and can vote.

If you need any support or have any further queries, please contact Homebuilders Family Services on 425 7048.